Maiden grass not feeling well?

spruceitupOctober 16, 2007

I just planted some Maiden Grass (Micanthius Sinensis???) over the weekend. I bought 6 containers of OG's (3 maiden) from the nursery and kept them outside in their containers (watered) for approximately 7-10 days before planting.

Two of my Maiden Grasses look beautiful before and after planting. The third MG was seemingly okay (looked like the others before planting) but began looking a bit strange the day before I put it in the ground. I noticed it was a bit lighter weight in the container which tells me it was drier than the other two. Anyway...the foliage took on a look of ribbon that had been curled...almost like you see on Christmas packages where the ribbon was curled using scissors.

After planting all of my OG's, I gave them all a good watering (soaking) but after 2 days in the ground, the curly-cue one still looks a bit sickly. What can I do to save this critter...in the event it is sick? I have some liquid Miracle Grow that is suppose to be good for new plantings??? I'd like to do something before winter/dormancy comes here in zone 5. Thanks for your help!!!

P.S. Can anybody give me some ideas how and when to "cut back" or prune my OG's. I have Maiden, Morning Light, and Dwarf Hamelin. How much do I cut them back?

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donn_(7b-8a)

It's quite possible that your "sick" Maiden Grass is already entering dormancy. Frequently, moving from the nursery environment to "real life" can cause warm season grasses to start to go dormant earlier than if they were already in the ground and established.

Don't fertilize them. It won't do anything but waste fertilizer. In most circumstances, they never need ferts.

If you are somewhere with guaranteed snow cover during the coldest parts of winter, I'd suggest giving the new grasses a haircut before the heavy snow flies, and then covering them with pine boughs. This will give them lots of protection from the coldest part of winter.

If you don't have guaranteed snow cover, leave the foliage, and pile on fall leaves to act as cold protection. Be sure to clean away the leaves when winter breaks.

Haircut time is usually in late winter to early spring, and you want to cut them down to 2-4" at most. Clean out any leaves and other flotsam which has been caught in the foliage/stems.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 7:35PM
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spruceitup

Thanks Donn,

I can accept your thought the sickly maiden grass is entering dormancy...however, I bought 3 plants and only 1 of them is sickly. The other two look great. By the way, we've been having unseasonably warm temps. Over the past month, its been about 75-80 degrees so I wonder if this postpones the dormancy???

Also, I'm assuming you are recommending a haircut for each OG variety I mentioned (maiden, morning light, dwarf hamelin)??? Also, did I read you correctly...cut the grass so that only 2-4 INCHES remain??? Wow, that's what I call a crew cut.

Please know, I live in Indianapolis, IN. and YES, we do get a fair amount of snow and winter temps often hovering around zero. Lately, Over the last 10 years, however, our winters have been quite mild with temps more often in the 20-30 range with just a week or two of REALLY cold temps. Snow has also been fairly infrequent (maybe 3-4/season) but accummulations are generally By the way, I have no idea what pine bough is. Would a hardwood mulch do the same thing??? Just pile it up on top of the crew-cut??? Thanks again for all your advise.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 1:50PM
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donn_(7b-8a)

I'm familiar with Indy weather (born there). Quite a bit of my Mother's family lives there, The Foxworthy Clan.

Your Miscanthus varieties (Maiden Grass and 'Morning Light') should have no trouble surviving a cold zone 5 winter. 'Hameln' is a little less hardy, but still should be no problem. A pine bough is nothing more than the branch of a pine tree. When I was gardening in zone 5, I collected neighborhood Christmas trees, and cut off their branches to mulch tender plants with. Loosely pile the branches over the plant, and layer in fall leaves. It provides good insulation. Hardwood mulch is not good. It's too dense, and will hold too much moisture in near the crown of the plant.

Yes, 2-4" at most. Younger grasses can go back to 1" with no ill effects. That foliage is dead, and getting rid of it is good for the plant. The length and timing applies to all your varieties.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 3:23PM
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